iiNet thumbs nose at AFACT

iiNet thumbs nose at AFACT

Summary: iiNet has not admitted that any particular users have been infringing copyright in the next step for the court case brought against it by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).

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iiNet has not admitted that any particular users have been infringing copyright in the next step for the court case brought against it by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).

AFACT has alleged that iiNet customers had been using iiNet to access the internet to make the whole or a substantial part of films available online to other people, transmit them to other people and make copies without any licence to do so.

In documents filed with the court last week, iiNet said it was willing to accept that the AFACT evidence did describe the BitTorrent transfer of certain AFACT films from computers using specified IP addresses.

Yet it wasn't willing to admit that the computer at those IP addresses was making a "whole or substantial part" of the films available online to the public unless AFACT could prove that it was sharing 100 per cent of the films.

Individual users of BitTorrent didn't electronically transmit the whole or even a substantial part of a film, according to iiNet, and sharing anything less than 100 per cent didn't make a breach of copyright.

iiNet also did not agree on the point that its users had been electronically transmitting films to other persons, contending that the person downloading the film was in control of what was transmitted, meaning that the person operating the iiNet connected computer was not the person "communicating subject-matter". It also wasn't going to concede that the transmissions were made to the public.

iiNet has admitted that some people whose computers were connected to the internet using its services have made copies of AFACT's members' films, but it would not admit that any particular users had done so or that a particular number of them might have done so or how it happened.

Previously, iiNet has argued that the IP address only identifies an account and not a particular user. In the defence last week it also put forward a hypothetical case which might also exonerate it — when a user makes use of more than one internet connection with the same laptop, one fixed, one wireless and one at work. There would be no way of saying that person had obtained a copy via iiNet or the other ISPs the user was accessing.

AFACT has also alleged that the users had made copies of the films on physical storage media such as DVDs. iiNet has disputed that its users made physical copies of the films.

iiNet has also limited the list of films which it is ready to make any admissions about to those films AFACT has listed as having been infringed and will not be extending the admission to all the films the studios have on their files.

iiNet had already set out other aspects of its defence, saying that it did not dispute that copyright existed for the films and that it did not authorise infringements and was not liable.

AFACT has brought the case on behalf of Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Disney Enterprises and the Seven Network.

Topics: Telcos, Government AU, Legal

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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Talkback

10 comments
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  • Why do people download TV from the internet?

    Perhaps if commercial networks, like Channel 7, put programs on as advertised, people would not need to download so often over the net.

    Advertising a program to start at 7.30pm and starting it at 7.38pm is not correct. Then finishing it at 8.42pm instead of 8.30pm isn't either. Is this false advertising????

    Saying a program is "Fast Tracked" from the USA, but actually showing them 3 or 4 weeks later, I don't consider this 'fast'.

    Showing a program series out of order, makes it confusing and annoying.

    Perhaps listening to customers more instead of worrying about how many adverts you can put on, will reduce the need for people to download TV from the net.
    anonymous
  • I thought we were allowed to format-shift?

    What's the current status on format shifting Movies you've "Purchased the License to view on DVD"?

    How does AFACT know that the end user isn't just using Bittorrent instead of ripping the DVD into something that can play on their portable media player?
    anonymous
  • Fight long and hard

    I like to see iinet sticking it to AFACT. Admit virtually nothing and make them legally fight for and prove every single aspect. Challenge everything. Hammer weaknesses until the holes weaken the whole (eg AFACT assuming people burnt things onto DVDs - oh yeah? prove it. Can't? Then your honour this is just another deficiency in their case).

    The fact that the Telstra lawyers are helping iinet now should make this even more amusing as they know how to drag a process on literally forever (just check out their ongoing battles with the ACCC).

    Anyone who thinks iinet will simply lay down and die is mistaken. The more painful and preferrably expensive iinet can make this whole process for AFACT the better in my opinion.
    anonymous
  • What a farce!

    It is not iiNet's responsiblility nor obligation to monitor, control, police, and penalize what subscribers do. iiNet, along with all other ISP's are providers of a carriage service. Is iiNet responsible for users downloading items on terrorism, or dare I say child porn? Is Toll Holdings responsible if someone uses a road to get away from a bank robbery? An airline responsible for drug smugglers?

    There are established procedures in law to with deal with copyright infringement and piracy. This is nothing more than a cynical attempt by large corporations to bypass those same legal procedures, to impose obligations on carriage providers, and provide juicier pickings for future law suits.
    And by picking on a mid sized ISP with limited resources they hope to create a precedence for use in later cases, both here and around the world. (Why not sue Telstra? They are too big!)

    And if a case in law is found against iiNet, then the law is an ass.
    anonymous
  • Censorship

    Interesting. The word that was censored was part of a well known saying.... that the law is a A.-.- (variant of a donkey)
    anonymous
  • School of Rock

    this is a classic case of sticking it to the man... way to go iiNet!
    anonymous
  • The Carrot or the Stick?

    There are 2 ways of achieving an outcome, either the Carrot or the Stick.

    AFACT are using a Big Stick trying to maintain its antiquated territorial monopoly distribution model which has lost relevance in an era of instant global communication.

    If they were realistic, theyd instead counteract piracy with a Carrot such as cheap legal downloads incorporating locked-in advertising, or genuine fast tracked TV broadcasts just days after overseas.

    If reasonable legal alternatives were provided, a majority wouldnt bother resorting to illegal practices.
    anonymous
  • Aussies make a great film....

    Yeh right... and there's only one thing more annoying then being forced to watch the unskippable version of that at the start of a dvd, it's the unskippable version of that and the you wouldn't steal a car propaganda. - I'm sorry but for as long as the industry calls people a pirate when they hand over their money to buy a dvd, people will keep downloading.
    anonymous
  • The Fourth Reich is at Hand!

    Between the ridiculous internet censorship trials, this fiasco and the more recent attempts to remove privacy from medical records this government is already seriously on the nose. The big brother attitude coupled with its sledgehammer approach will see it vanish at the next election if the opposition is able to put up any sort of feasible leader.
    anonymous
  • Thumbing one's nose??

    At what point is stating the bloody obvious in court an act of thumbing one's nose at opposing counsel? Here's a fun analagy I came up with to simplify it for you all:

    A noisy owner of a very slow bus company by the side of the road (movie studios) complains to the RTA (iiNet) that he saw one car go past that had a member of a footy team in the back (0.1 seconds of a film), then draws a legally binding conclusion with no further proof that the same road must have had the entire league's football teams since inception of the road must have also been driven across it (their entire catalog of films). Then demand that this also constitutes proof that entire teams went off and instead of getting drunk (film watched on the PC) every single one of them were put on a minibus and played paintball (film burnt to DVD).

    But wait, they not only say the RTA (iiNet) are responsible for this road, but that they indicated the destination of the road was Richmond (IP address), therefore iiNet must have known that Jack Smith in Richmond (one of many users at that IP address) was driving the car (using software, not a virus or someone using their wireless) that had the footy player in it way back at exhibit 1 and this person knew that the footy player was going to rape and pillage (illegal copy of a film), instead of just playing football (a trailer for a movie or maybe a file renamed that should have been a unix download).

    There are many other holes in this laughable case, but the sad part is that there are so many technically incompetent members of Australia's judiciary that they actually have a fairly even chance of punishing iiNet for simply carrying content that was sent and received by parties other than iiNet; content that may or may not be the commercial product of one of the compalining movie studios. Meh.
    anonymous